Golden sands, turquoise waters and perfect palm trees, Mission Beach in tropical North Queensland is a beautiful seaside region that’s both an ideal spot to set sail for the Great Barrier Reef and a secluded natural paradise where you can recharge year-round. Whether staying beach-bound to soak up the sun or trekking through lush rainforest is more your speed, there are plenty of adventures to be had at Mission Beach any time you visit.
Sandwiched between a World Heritage-listed rainforest and a World-Heritage listed reef, Mission Beach is at the intersection of two natural wonder worlds. The Wet Tropics Rainforest has more biodiversity than the Galapagos Islands and, as such, you’ll hardly be able to move for all the native wildlife that call these lush surrounds home. Pick a walking track and let the rainforest guide you through its ancient pathways.
Mission Beach is also home to the world’s largest surviving dinosaur descendent, the cassowary. Similar to an emu, but with a much more impressive headdress, these endangered birds are native to Queensland and remain the country’s heaviest feathered creature. You can spot them in the wild if you’re eagle-eyed – just make sure you don’t feed them or get too close.
No prizes for guessing what the main pastime is along this sleepy, sandy stretch. The four beaches that comprise Mission Beach – Bingil Bay, North Mission, Wongaling Beach and South Mission – are made for relaxation. Lay your towel on any one of them for an afternoon of sun-soaking or get a closer look at the aquatic marvels with a snorkel off the sands at Coral Bay, five kilometres north of Mission Beach town on Bingil Beach Road. The nearby Dunk Island is also a worthwhile choice for underwater exploration.
In addition to the four main beaches, there are countless coves waiting to be discovered. There’s unmarked Brooks Beach, quiet Garners Beach or fishermens’ favourite Narragon Beach, all clear of crowds.
If you’re looking for water that really gets the blood pumping though, hit the rapids in Tully Gorge National Park, an hour east of Mission Beach, where whitewater rafting will rush you through the surrounding World-Heritage rainforest.
Whether you choose to sit back and soak up the sun or explore the waters and rainforests, Mission Beach is the perfect get-away for a quintessentially Australian laid-back holiday.